"Acts of rejection" against artists soar in Cuba
Dissident artist Tania Bruguera, curator Anamely Ramos and writer Katherine Bisquet were harassed and insulted by loyalists of Castro. Did the police get help?
With cries of "Mercenaria!" and "bitch." This is how a group of exalted people received the Cuban artist and activist Tania Bruguera last Monday, as she was trying to reach the neighborhood of La Habana Vieja.
They were a score of angry people, who continued to howl the name of the late Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, as if by stalking Bruguera they were honoring his memory.
Artists and journalists have been denouncing arbitrary arrests and harassment by State Security for almost two years while fighting for freedom of expression in a country where art and the press seem to be the new enemies.
Even more so when, as was the case, the commemoration of the beginning of the Ten Years' War — Cuba's wars of independence, in 1868 — is being held, and both the collective and members of the San Isidro Movement decided to hold a concert on the previous Saturday as a declaration against police violence, but neither one could materialize because they were detained for hours as their headquarters had already been under siege for a few weeks.
Art curator Anamely Ramos and writer Katherine Bisquet, both critical of the regime, suffered the same fate as Bruguera from a small citizen's militia made up of women, that besieged them at the curator's door.
While numerous videos flooded social media reporting the sieges, the government continues to point to the victims of "mercenaries" on the payroll of the United States. It applauds these so-called "actos de repudio" (acts of rejection), which is the name given on the island to the spontaneous "bullying" of regime supporters against dissident citizens.
Insults and persecutions that lived their peak in past decades, accompanied by egg-throwing and loud music speakers, today seem to be back in fashion among those who call a few people "mercenaries," but play the role of spokesmen for power.